Samsung Snatches Another Apple Crown

Are there {complink 379|Apple Inc.} turfs that {complink 4751|Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.} doesn't want to stomp on? The Korean electronics giant in 2012 grabbed the title of the No. 1 consumer of semiconductors from its North American smartphone and tablet PC competitor, according to an announcement yesterday by Gartner Inc., adding to its bragging rights as the world's biggest seller of smartphones.

Gartner said Samsung was the world's biggest “semiconductor customer” in 2012 with a 28.9 percent jump in its chip demand to $23.9 billion compared with $18.6 billion in the preceding year. During the same period, Apple slid to the No. 2 position with a still respectable 13.6 percent jump in semiconductor usage to $21.4 billion from $18.8 billion in the prior 12-month period. The other companies making up the top five positions are HP at No. 3, Dell at No. 4, and Sony at No. 5. Lenovo, Toshiba, LG Electronics, Cisco, and Nokia were also on the top 10 list of semiconductor users in 2012, according to Gartner.

Samsung's rise to the top position as the world's biggest buyer of semiconductors was not a surprise. It posted strong smartphone sales in 2012, helping it eclipse Apple as the world's leading seller of the device. Additionally, it continues to ship traditional phones at a healthy clip and while it has been less successful in the tablet PC segment, it has also seen its market share there rise strongly. Based on current projections, the company is likely to widen the gap between it and other OEMs this year and over the next several years.

The PC market was still the top destination for semiconductors in 2012 and that may not change this year, according to Gartner. One reason for this is that the amount of semiconductors used in smartphones and tablet PCs is typically lower than for regular PCs. Partly as a result, total semiconductor shipment fell in 2012 to $297.6 billion, a 3 percent decline from $306.8 billion in 2011, the research firm said.

Masatsune Yamaji, principal analyst at Gartner, indicated in the above statement:

In addition to a weak macroeconomic situation, a dramatic change in consumer demand contributed to a reduction in semiconductor demand in 2012. The PC market still represented the largest sector for chip demand, but desktop and mobile PCs did not sell well, as consumers' interest shifted to new mobile computing devices like smartphones and media tablets. This shift caused a substantial decrease in semiconductor demand in 2012, as the semiconductor content of a smartphone or a media tablet is far less than that of a PC.

Yamaji said other segments of the electronic equipment market stepped in with higher semiconductor consumption in 2012, led by the datacenter and communications infrastructure sectors. Even so, the companies that many leading chip vendors will focus upon more in the future for sales would continue to be Apple and Samsung, which together now account for more than 15 percent of total industry semiconductor usage.

Apple doesn't own its own semiconductor operation but Samsung does, which meant that in 2012, it purchased some or even the largest chunk of its chip requirements from itself. Samsung was also a supplier to Apple, which is trying to cut down on chip purchases from the Korean company as their rivalry intensifies. For now, though, Samsung seems to be hitting all the sweet spots in the market.

15 comments on “Samsung Snatches Another Apple Crown

  1. _hm
    January 26, 2013

    Yes, Samsung looks good follower. But what people look for admiration is leader creating new marks of iinovation and wonderful awe inspiring products. Again look at all Apple products. Look iMac, Apple keyboard, mouse, tocuh pad etc. What do you think?


  2. itguyphil
    January 26, 2013

    Samsung is high ip on the innovation ladder too.

  3. Himanshugupta
    January 26, 2013

    Samsung has come a long way to get both trust and respect of conusmers that Nokia has sometime ago. Apple has for sure high innovation quotient in their products but Samsung is closing the gap quite fast. Apple bought IP licencense from Samsung for some of the innovative product so one thing is sure that Apple should be looking over its shoulders for ideas.

  4. Adeniji Kayode
    January 27, 2013

    Samsung really took time to come this far and worth watching out for this year for a more stable consumer electronics

  5. Adeniji Kayode
    January 27, 2013

    I think samsung is not doing badly when it comes to innovation and state of art electronics. If Samsung will not relent, it will be a strong competitor for Apple and may eventually start to lead soon

  6. bolaji ojo
    January 27, 2013

    Yes, Samsung is a good follower but it's also one that has become a leader. It is No. 1 in smartphones and mobile phones, No. 1 in DRAM (memory semiconductor) and a leader in TVs plus other consumer electronics products. The company couldn't have achieved these positions only by being a follower. It is an innovator too.

  7. bolaji ojo
    January 27, 2013

    _hm, Remember Samsung is a major supplier to Apple too!

  8. Anna Young
    January 28, 2013

    @_hm, the company have done pretty well to have come this far. It's currently the market leader in smartphones, where they have hit a 76% record high in just the sales of smartphones alone. The company owns manufacturing facilities, where their products are built. Apple may have the capability to design its own devices and some other software it uses, but rely on Samsung and some other electronic technological companies to build its devices.    I think Samsung's achievement cannot be regarded lightly. This is a company turning things around and certainly still going strong.

  9. Anna Young
    January 28, 2013

    I agree Pocharle. Samsung is certainly a market leader in innovation. Samsung's latest version of its Galaxy S range is regarded comparable in design and other features too.

  10. Anna Young
    January 28, 2013

    Absolutely Himanshugupta! I think Apple is certainly looking over its shoulder. You're correct Samsung is closing the gap fast!

  11. Anna Young
    January 28, 2013

    @Kayode, Samsung snatched the market leadership crown from Apple in Smartphones sales – that is no joke. It shows how hard the company is hacking away at Apple. It launched its attack, where Apple is most vulnerable – that is the smartphones market and used it to their advantage .More so; it's been able to deliver smartphones of various shapes and sizes with features to match that of iPhones.  I'm sure Samsung cannot let down its guard at this moment. I hope not.

  12. Taimoor Zubar
    January 28, 2013

    I recently read that the number of Android devices in the world will surpass the number of devices on iOS platform. That's another worry for Apple as it now has much stronger competition on the software side as well while competing on the hardware side with Samsung and others.

  13. Taimoor Zubar
    January 28, 2013

    The company couldn't have achieved these positions only by being a follower. It is an innovator too.”

    @Bolaji: I agree. Most people think innovation is all about new products which is not necessarily the case. Innovation can also be in terms of producing the existing products at a cheaper cost which is primarily what Samsung has done. Yes, it wasn't the first one to come up with touch-based devices but it was able to product touch-based smartphones and tablets at lower costs through innovation which is why they became a success.

  14. itguyphil
    January 28, 2013

    They definitely outdid Apple. Let's see if they can keep the steam rolling.

  15. Mr. Roques
    January 31, 2013

    When comparing mobile and PC semiconductors, are it the same and quantities the only thing that changes? 

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